innocence

Today we ask that you know that you are completely innocent.

You are completely innocent.

You are as innocent now as when you were born.

The human consciousness always balks at this.

The belief in guilt and sin is very important to most people.  It is, of course, important to the religious — indeed, the belief in “original sin,” and punishment for sinners in the afterlife or else through punitive reincarnation is at the core of the major world religions.  But atheists also hold dear the notion that humans should be punished for their crimes — this what is it means to be moral.  If there were no systems in place to punish the guilty, mankind would dissolve into anarchy.

Believe it or not, from the perspective of an advanced “alien” civilization observing humanity, such beliefs would be considered primitive and barbaric — only a few steps removed from burning witches at the stake.

Guilt is a concept.  It has no actual existence outside the human collective consciousness.  Ideas of guilt, sin, and punishment must be taught to human children.  If a child were raised in a society that had no concept of guilt, he would not understand it.  The idea would seem foreign and frankly somewhat monstrous.  Certainly it would be perceived as the source of terrible misery that it is.

You may protest that this is nonsense.  Surely people who commit crimes are guilty, and must be punished.

You may protest that it is only your sense of guilt that keeps you moral and virtuous.  If you were not racked by guilt every time you did something wrong, you would be a shameless and immoral person.  Guilt is a necessary component of human morality.

But this is a lie.

In truth, the belief in guilt and sin has caused far more harm than good throughout human history.  It has been the cause of unending cycles of violence.  Countless humans have been murdered at the altar of guilt and sin.  The belief in guilt and sin warps human consciousness and causes insanity.

For example, why should it be that, in recent decades, many Catholic priests have been exposed as having committed terrible abuses against children?  Why would Catholic priests in particular be disposed toward such acts?  It is not solely because of their celibacy.  It is because the obsession with guilt and sin can, in many individuals, trigger insanity and deeply destructive behavior.

Still, you may protest: society would collapse we did not punish criminals.  We must protect the weak, and avenge victims.

But this system only perpetuates violence.  Take, for example, the end of apartheid in South Africa.  The only reason this did not cause massive violence and racial warfare was because of a deeply wise decision on the part of the black South African leadership to offer clemency to the white South Africans who had committed abuses and crimes.  In that situation, the guilty were not punished.  As a result, the country did not descend into mass violence.  

From the point of view of an advanced “alien” civilization, the notion of guilt and sin would be considered nonsensical.

From their point of view, any adult being who engages in destructive action directed toward the self or others would be considered mentally ill, and would be compassionately treated for this condition.

Is this clear?  No one in such a society would ever be “punished.”  However, if someone behaved violently, he would be considered mentally ill, and action would be taken to protect those he might inadvertently harm.

In your world, people with neurological diseases or mental illness often behave aggressively.  But you would never judge or punish someone you knew to be suffering from Alzheimer’s — that would be barbaric.

From a certain perspective, it could be said that anyone who behaves destructively has a neurological disorder.

While many might be threatened by this — for what does this ideology do to concepts of human morality, of “right and wrong,” etc. — it is simply a much clearer and truer way of perceiving matters.

Another way to perceive this is to observe the behavior of young children.  Young children often behave aggressively.  While a religious person might consider this evidence of “original sin,” a sane point of view would perceive such behavior not as sinful, but rather undeveloped.  An intelligent person does not judge an aggressive toddler, let alone scream at, hit, or in any way punitively attack such a toddler.  Instead, the wise parent calmly separates an aggressive toddler from other children so that he can do no harm, and places him in a “time-out” situation so that he can discharge his physical energy and calm down.  

There is no assignation of guilt, no suggestion of sin, and the “time-out” is not a punishment.  Young children are simply understood to be undeveloped, and still in the process of learning healthy ways to communicate and discharge physical energy.

Such skills must be taught and encouraged.  However, training children to feel guilty and ashamed of themselves only breeds neurosis and self-suppression.  The child learns to stuff down his energy, in which case destructive behavior erupts compulsively, manifesting later in life as addictions and destructive impulses.

Most so-called human adults are really just children muddling along in adult clothing, who never learned how to handle their energy in healthy ways.  And like children, they are totally innocent.

As Christ said on the cross: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

This wisdom does not impugn guilt to the crucifiers.  Only ignorance.  And the ignorant are not to be judged.

You are innocent.  If you have caused harm to yourself or others, it was due to ignorance, or because you have been taught crazy, destructive beliefs by your elders, which is also ignorance.  You may have been in the grip of a compulsion, which like all addictive behavior is a form of illness.  It can be treated, but first it must be addressed compassionately as an illness, not as a crime to be punished.

Forgive yourself.  You are innocent.

If you truly believe this, with all your heart, you will instantly be at peace in this life.  

So it is up to you: hold on to your belief in guilt-based morality, and continue to suffer.

Or believe in your innocence, and be at peace.

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